I’m not going to lie. I honestly thought the Coyotes were going to have a season similar to the previous year. I thought we didn’t change drastically; we kept the core of the team. We swapped a troublesome player for a player who seemed stuck on a troublesome team. I hoped Erat would get his spark back. I thought Smith would be ready to come back strong after a season ending injury. I was too optimistic and I will probably go into next season with the same hope.
Looking back over the season there seemed to be a communication issue. I don’t think it was intentional. I just think lines were crossed between new owners, management, players and fans. We heard what we wanted to hear. We believed what management told us. It happens.
I do think the Coyotes are going to become stronger from the trials they went through this year. Smith struggled. Offense struggled. Players lost close friends at the deadline.
There wasn’t a lot to watch for the first 2/3 of the year. It seemed only a few players showed up for a game. Games were played for 40, or sometimes even 20, minutes only. It’s like they forgot they needed to play all 60 minutes. Other teams got lucky bounces while we seemed to have no puck luck.
Everything shifted after the trade deadline. Sure we still sucked but there was a renewed energy. People played like they wanted to be there, not like their mind was already at home in bed. They put forth an effort and played entire games. There were battles and fights. There was the will to win.
Speaking of the trade deadline, I am not 100% happy about it but I get it and I am willing to do anything to help further the team. I will miss Yandle but it is what it is. He expressed that he didn’t plan to sign an extension and Maloney was handed an opportunity. I get it and I wish him well. Z has come and gone a few times and it was expected. I feel like he may come back this off-season. I would be ok with that. I am glad to see OEL with the A though. I think he has grown a lot over the past few seasons.
I can’t say for sure what our team will look like in the fall or how we will do but I am excited to find out. We may have a season or two with struggles but I really feel our future is coming together and we will have a talented, fun team to watch.